Halloween is a marketing and retail success story. North Americans spend billions of dollars on candy, costumes and decorations in anticipation of October 31 . However, Scott Masson, Associate Pastor, Westminster Chapel in Toronto, sees the celebration of Halloween as a return to the dark forces of paganism and an indication of society’s obsession with horror and death. Masson was given the opportunity to spout his nonsense in a debate with Justin Trottier, spokesperson for the Canadian Secular Alliance, during the “Culture War!” segment of the John Oakley Show.
According to Masson, Halloween is a reenactment of a pagan festival of death that was transformed when Christianity vanquished the power of darkness through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ! The most ubiquitous symbol of Christianity is the portrayal of Jesus on the cross! Every church and Christian home has a crucifix, a horrifying portrayal of Roman execution, affixed to a wall. However, Masson wants us to believe that Christianity is a religion of sweetness and light.
Light is one of Masson’s favorite words, and he reminds us that October 31 is the day before All Saints Day (November 1) dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs. The prospect of martyrdom is not sweetness and light; martyrdom is the death or suffering of a martyr. The Catholic Church celebrates martyrdom by canonizing Christian martyrs who were burned, mutilated or hanged upside down on a cross because of their faith in the power of Christianity to “save” them.
Scott Masson is misrepresenting Halloween for his own “Christian” purposes. Halloween is not a return to the dark forces of paganism. Celebrated on the eve of All Saints Day, Halloween is a symbol of the culture of torture and death implicit in Catholicism and Christianity.
Christian children continue to be encouraged to envision limbo, purgatory and the fires of hell. Halloween is a time for them to confront and dispel these visions. The antidote for the pernicious influence of Christianity is more carnival, not less.